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CropLife Canada sees a growing demandÂ forÂ its expertise on policy discussions around international trade issues in the coming years.
As president ofÂ CropLife Canada, which represents Canadian manufacturers, developers and distributors of pesticides and products of modern plant breeding, Pierre Petelle knows what a big responsibility the organization has within the seed industry.
Consumers increasingly want to know where their food comes from and how it was grown, which offers an opportunity for CropLife Canada to explain the role plant science technologies play in food production.
âThey haveÂ questionsÂ about things like GMOs, and CropLife Canada is working hard to fill the information gap with credible information,â he says. âWe are part of a broader agriculture industry movement to establish public trust in the food system, which ultimately impacts policy decision making.â
As the industry looks to forge a next-generation seed system for the country through the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project, CropLife Canadaâs place in that broader industry is something heâs excited to discuss.
âThe Seed Synergy project is an important exercise in bringing together all the players in the seed sector to explore how we can all work more efficiently together,â Petelle says. âAs we collectively develop a proposalÂ forÂ a next-generation seed system weâll be able to reassess how our organizations work together. In the case of this work, the eventual form will follow the function.â
Petelle sees many challenges and an equal number of opportunities on the horizon for the seed sector.
âNew breeding tools such as gene editing will change the landscape of the seed sector, and CropLife Canada will need to continue to be positioned to advocateÂ forÂ policy and regulations that enable farmers and consumers to access the benefits of these technologies, while addressing any safety concerns.â
As more patentsÂ forÂ novel traits expire in the future, CropLife Canada will need to continue to partner with groups like the Canadian Seed Trade Association to develop approaches to managing off-patent products that ensure the continued stewardship of these products and protection of international market access, he adds.
âWe will also need to develop reasonable approaches to protecting intellectual property to provide continued incentivesÂ forÂ innovators to invest in developing new products that will benefit farmers and consumers.â
Perhaps most significant, he says, will be an increasing demandÂ forÂ CropLife Canadaâs expertise on policy discussions around international trade issues such as low level presence of products of plant biotechnology and maximum residue limits concerning pesticides, and the organization will need to continue to offer that expertise in an effective way.
To accomplish all of this, CropLife Canada will continue to work with the industryâs other stakeholder groups to advance the collective interests of the agriculture industry.
Many of CropLife Canadaâs members are leaders in the chemical business in addition to the seed business, and thatâs a huge asset as far as the Seed Synergy project is concerned, says AdFarm founder and former CEO Kim McConnell, who has worked with CropLife Canada for years providing strategic advice.
âThe role CropLife Canada plays will continue to be very important,â he says. CropLife Canadaâs involvement in the Seed Synergy initiative means thereâs more interplay and interaction between all the players in the crop input sector, and thatâs a good thing, he adds.
âIn Canada we have the benefit of seeing collaboration in the chemical business, the biotechnology and genetics business and trade. Traditional industry segments that operated rather independently now realize that there are benefits for many when greater teamwork occurs â and thatâs what the Seed Synergy project is doing.Â We have six seed industry organizations saying, âHey, we need to work more closely than we have in the past.â Thatâs why Seed Synergy is so significant,â McConnell says.
âTheÂ Past, Present, Future series examines each of our sectorâs six representative groups over the next several months to offer insight into whyÂ they were founded, what they do, and the role they expect to play in the future.Â